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Nigerians react as NBS claims lack of funds is delaying unemployment report

NBS’ Yemi Kale had tweeted that the reason the unemployment report has not been released is because there is no money allocated to his agency.

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NBS

Nigeria’s Statistician-General and CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics, Dr Yemi Kale, on Tuesday, November 13th, made a rather controversial Twitter post informing Nigerians that the long-awaited unemployment report has not been released because there is no money allocated to his agency to this effect.

Dr Kale’s post was made in obvious reaction to those alleging that he had been instructed not to release the data ahead of the fiercely-contested 2019 elections.

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He disputed this claim, telling everyone to stop making assumptions because nobody has instructed him to manipulate anything.

“You guys need to stop this. I know it’s election time but I’ve said this repeatedly. Nobody is calling me to manipulate any data or not to release any data. The work can’t be completed due to budgetary releases. It’s not hard to confirm when last we got data funding and how much.” – Kale

Note that the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics has not released any unemployment data since the beginning of 2018, making it almost a year since the last one was released in December. It is, therefore, unsurprising why Nigerians have been curious as to what is happening, especially considering the report is meant to be released every quarter.

The last report indicated that Nigeria’s unemployment as at Q3 2017 stood at 18.8%. This is the highest since 2010, the report said.

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Meanwhile, about 4.07 million Nigerians were said to have lost their jobs during this same period, thereby bringing the total number of unemployed Nigerians to some 15.99 million; up from 11.92 million in Q1 2017.

As expected, Mr Kale’s tweet has elicited widespread reactions from Nigerians

Many accused the President Buhari-led administration of “emasculating” the Statistician-General, even as they called on him to resign.

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Others said they completely understand the delicate situation the Statistician-General is in. According to them, they do not wish to be him right now.

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Meanwhile, others almost exaggerated the political implications of the matter, whilst taking advantage of the moment for campaign purposes.

Others said they cannot wait for the day when the full details of what stopped Yemi Kale from publishing unemployment report will become public knowledge.

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Emmanuel holds an MSc. in International Relations and a B.A in Philosophy & Logic, both from the University of Ibadan. He is a communications professional. As a Lead Business Analyst at Nairametrics, he focuses mostly on quoted companies, their products/services, and the economy in which they operate. Emmanuel is also experienced in the areas of corporate communication, brand communication, corporate storytelling, public relations, business research, management/strategy, etc. You may contact him via his email- emmanuel.abara@nairametrics.com.

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria’s Bonga crude oil export terminal shutdown

Nigeria’s crude oil output is going to drop further, following the shutdown of the Bonga crude oil export terminal, which is operated by Shell Nigeria Exploration..

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Bonga crude oil

In what appears like a temporary setback, especially in this era of global oil market crisis, Nigeria’s crude oil output is going to drop further.
This is after the shutdown of the Bonga crude oil export terminal, which is operated by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO).

According to Reuters, the Bonga crude oil export terminal will be shut for routine maintenance for 2 weeks and is expected to be done in a record time.

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In a statement from Shell, the oil firm said that the maintenance of Bonga floating production storage and offloading unit (FPSO) started in May 21.

The oil production firm said, ‘’The scope includes statutory recertification and critical asset integrity activities and the exercise would run until July during which there will be a few days of total shutdown’’.

The Bonga crude oil export terminal was scheduled to load four cargoes in June or 127,000 barrels per day, an increase from the 123,000 barrel per day that was done in May.

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The repairs of the crude oil terminal appear to be behind schedule as Nairametrics had reported that Shell had schedule to carry out the maintenance on the facility earlier with the expectation that it will be ready for use in March.

This exercise is expected to help ensure sustained production and reduced unscheduled production deferments. The turnaround maintenance should involve inspections, recertification, testing and repair of equipment as well as engineering upgrades with Nigerian companies and subsea professional playing key roles.

A major focus is the Bonga floating, production, storage, offloading (FPSO) vessel, which is at the heart of Bonga operations. It has a production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of gas per day.

Bonga is Nigeria’s first deep water development in depths of more than 1,000 metres and is located 120km offshore Nigeria. SNEPCO expanded the project with further drilling of wells in Bonga phases 2 and 3 and through a subsea tie-back that unlocked the nearby Bonga North West field in August 2014. Bonga Phase 3 achieved first oil October 2015.

The Bonga is operated by SNEPCO in partnership with Total, Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria (Deep Water) Limited under a production sharing contract with NNPC.

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Business News

Global oil market to re-balance in 2 months’ time

In the meantime, OPEC+ wants to keep the existing production output cuts beyond the June expiry date as part of efforts to rebalance the market. Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iraq, have all reaffirmed their commitment to this effect.

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Crude oil prices, bonny light

With the uncertainty that still prevails in the global oil market due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, analysts have been coming up with different forecasts on the future of the market. The latest forecast is that the market will most likely recover by July 2020.

Crude oil prices and oil demand plunged over the past few months as a result of the pandemic. However, with the lifting of global lockdowns and gradual reopening of global economies, oil prices are expected to rebound. Russia’s energy minister, Alexander Novak, said the global oil supply and the oil demand will most likely rebalance by July.

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In the meantime, OPEC+ wants to keep the existing production output cuts beyond the June expiry date as part of efforts to rebalance the market. Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iraq, have all reaffirmed their commitment to this effect.

In his analysis earlier today, OPEC’s Secretary-General, Mohammed Barkindo, urged OPEC+ members not to flout the output cut. According to him, OPEC+ members must remain committed to production cuts despite signs that oil demand is beginning to recover.

(READ MORE: Oil price gains likely to halt over demand uncertainty, as US-China tension intensifies)

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Global oil market to rebalance in 2 months’ time

On its part, Russia had agreed to cut down its oil production to 8.5 million barrels of crude per day in May and June, down from 10.5 million barrels.  There is a possibility that the country could extend the current level of output cut beyond June, a situation that is expected to serve as a major boost in the rebalancing of the oil market.

Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that it had seen signs that the oil market would rebalance quicker than originally expected after the United States and OPEC implemented the agreed output cut. The development came as a big relief to Nigeria because the rebound of oil prices and the rebalancing forecast will help reduce the country’s fiscal pressure and boost its revenue.

Note that the Brent crude and Bonny light crude sold for about $36 per barrel and over $33 per barrel respectively. These are above the revised budget oil benchmark of $25 per barrel for the 2020 budget.

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Business

LIRS further extends deadline for filing annual tax returns by one month

“We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020.” – Ayodele Subair

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LIRS further extends deadline for filing annual return by one month

The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has again extended the deadline for filing of Annual Tax Returns from May 31 2020 to June 30, 2020.

This is part of the state government’s effort to provide relief to taxpayers in light of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. With this development, annual returns for individuals, both employees and self-employed persons, can be filed anytime before June 30, 2020.

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In a press release signed by Monsurat Amasa, the head of LIRS’ Corporate Communications Department, the agency urged taxpayers to take advantage of the magnanimity of the government and file their returns. The LIRS’ Executive Chairman, Mr. Ayodele Subair, explained the extension thus:

“As the Lagos State Government keeps abreast of global best practices in containing the Covid-19 pandemic and eases the effects of an economic downturn on taxpayers and residents of the State, LIRS had initially extended the deadline for filing annual tax returns for two months, from the statutory March 31st of every fiscal year to May 31, 2020.  

“We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020.”

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(READ MORE: COVID-19: Lagos issues new guidelines, considers full reopening of economy)

He further explained that taxpayers can file the annual returns from the comfort of their homes and offices using the LIRS eTax platforms. They can also generate assessment and payment schedule, and other tax administration matters on the same platform. Updates on business operations and alternative payment platforms are to be found on the verified handles, and the LIRS website.

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